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The dangers of distracted driving among teenagers

A recent study indicated that drivers across the country are already 10 percent more distracted than they were in 2018. Unfortunately, many preventable accidents involve high school students or teenage drivers. According to the AAA, more than one in four teen drivers reported texting while driving in just the past 30 days.

What is distracted driving?

Distracted driving involves any activity that takes your attention away from the task at hand: driving. This can include texting, talking on the phone, eating, applying makeup, checking social media or email and even talking with other passengers.

There are three types of distractions. Manual distractions involve taking your hands off the wheel, visual distractions involve taking your eyes off the road and cognitive distractions involve taking your attention from the task of driving. Texting utilizes all three forms of distractions, making it especially dangerous.

Steps to take to prevent distracted driving

Volunteers will often speak with high school students across the state to discuss the dangers of distracted driving. Talking about the topic at home is also critical to curb the habits of potentially yourself and your teenage driver. Several safety tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to discuss include:

  • Safely pulling over. When you need to send a text or use your phone while driving, wait until you can safely pull over to do so.
  • Relying on a passenger. When you have a friend in the car, ask them to read a text to you or respond to a call to avoid the temptation to do so yourself.
  • Eliminating the temptation. If you find yourself unable to break the habit, put your phone in the trunk, glove compartment or more to get it out of your reach.
  • Talking with others. Talk about distracted driving with others to increase awareness, either while as the passenger in a car or elsewhere.

When distracted driving is combined with excessive speed, poor weather or road conditions or more, accidents can become even more severe. Talk with your teenager about the risks of distracted driving and positive habits to implement on the road.

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